MAD Envisions More ‘Natural’ Chinese Cities in the Future

Courtesy of MAD Architects

Ma Yansong of MAD recently presented a 600,000 square meter urban design proposal for the city of Nanjing titled, “Shanshui Experiment Complex,” at the 2013 Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism / Architecture in Shenzhen, China. The concept takes into account the culture, nature and history of Nanjing while reconsidering the methodology in which Chinese are built.

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Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and C+S Architects Win Competition to Redevelop Chiasso Train Station

© Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and C+S Architects

The Italian joint-venture between Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners and C+S Architects has been announced as winner of an international competition for the requalification of a former railway station site in Chiasso, . The team’s winning scheme proposes a “soft urban design” aimed at giving value to the pre-existing buildings, which are substantially maintained and sewn to the newly designed complex of two schools: SAMS and STA.

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Qianhai Integrated Transportation Hub / gmp Architekten

© gmp Architekten

Architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp) have been commissioned to of a new urban development project on a 45 hectare site in the southern Chinese city of . The competition-winning proposal comprises a transportation hub including five underground railway stations, a border control point and numerous commercial areas. Above ground there will be a range of tower blocks of different heights with apartments, shops and offices to form multi-functional city quarters.

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Call for Papers: STUDIO#06 – POWER

The relationship between Architecture and Power has been the main character in the urban transformation with no space-time boundaries. Architecture has historically demonstrated its Power in creating different urban landscapes capable of influencing spaces that are lived.

Power shows and has shown how Architecture is one of the most efficient tools to express ones vision about the world. STUDIO#06 – POWER wants to investigate how to examine this continuous and difficult relationship within society and in contemporary experiences. The constant relation between the communicative energy of architecture and human ambitions has determined a sometimes symbiotic practice of small and big architecture interventions. At the same time architecture’s formal power defines our perception of spaces, in each little transformation, in an ever-changing manner.

Which were and are in the historical and political scenario the dynamics, examples and the relations between Power and Architecture? In which way nowadays the pair Power-Architecture consciously or unconsciously transforms our  and the spaces we inhabit?

Structurally organized in different ways of contribution – essays, insights, experiences, images – the issue is meant to be  investigated by a multi-disciplinary global perspective in order to define its complexity. The call for papers defines the field of interest of an issue and produces a context in which situate contributions.

For complete information on the submission guideline, requirements and timeline, please click here.

Young Projects to Design “Match-Maker” Heart for Times Square

Courtesy of Young Projects

Trailing Situ Studio’s recycled lumber heartYoung Projects has been chosen to the annual Times Square Valentine’s Day for lovers in the Big Apple. Made in collaboration with fabricator Kammental, “Match-Maker” will debut early February. 

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LEGO® Architecture Landmark Series: The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower. Image © LEGO® Architecture

LEGO® has announced the architecture series’ newest addition: The Eiffel Tower (La tour Eiffel). Named after its engineer, Gustave Eiffel, the famous lattice structure is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world. Built on the Champ de Mars in Paris, , to serve as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair, The Eiffel Tower was the tallest structure in the world until 1930, and remains the tallest structure in Paris. More than 5,000 detailed drawings were required to assemble the 1063-foot tower’s 18,038 iron parts, which took just over two years to complete.

The Eiffel Tower LEGO® Architecture replica will be available for purchase on January 1st, 2014. You can learn more about the structure and its history here.

A-KAMP47 / Stephane Malka

Courtesy of Lauren Garbit, via Metropolis Magazine

In an industrial section of Marseille, tents climb up a factory wall like a canvas creeper, housing urban campers and the local homeless alike. A-KAMP47Stephane Malka’s newest , subtly critiques the French state’s promise for universal housing as well as makes an architectural commentary – Malka cites Le Corbusier‘s Unite D’Habitation as inspiration. Metropolis Magazine’s Samuel Medina takes an in-depth look at the project in “Hiding in Plain Sight.

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Could Facebook Help Us Understand Urban Migration?

plans to move 250 Million citizens into by 2025. Could Facebook help them in this endeavor?. Image © Flickr CC User Wenjie Zhang

According to this article on QuartzFacebook is now so widely-used (providing readily available information about the hometowns of millions – or even billions – of people) that it can help researchers analyze migration patterns and trends. Find out more here.

Peter Marino and Marc Jacobs Chat about Design, Architecture, and Fashion

visionaries Tom Ford, Gianfranco Ferre, and Gianni Versace all began their design education in architecture. In the words of Coco Chanel, “fashion is architecture.” It was likely with this in mind that the Architecture Foundation hosted it’s annual John Edwards Lecture. The event, which was held at the Tate Modern’s Starr Auditorium, was a discussion between designer Marc Jacobs and architect Peter Marino, who have frequently collaborated together on retail design.

The conversation, led by Penny Martin (editor of The Gentlewoman) covered a range of topics but focused especially on the intersection of the two participants’ fields – fields whose borders seem to be dissolving more and more every year (also see Frank Gehry or Zaha Hadid’s foray into shoe design or the 3D printed dress that wowed the world earlier this year).

Raphael Sperry Speaks About His Quest for Humane Prison Design

Deanna Van Buren’s ‘Mediation Womb’ could form part of an alternative to inhumane prison . Image Courtesy of FOURM Studio

In this interview in Metropolis Magazine, Raphael Sperry elaborates on the goal of his organization Architects / Designers / Planners for Social Responsibility to ban members of the AIA from designing execution chambers and certain forms of prisons. He explains why the AIA’s existing charter should make this ban a no-brainer as well as highlights the success and support the campaign has received, even in unexpected places. You can read the full article here.

YAP 2013: bam! Debuts ‘He’ at MAXXI

He has made his debut in the piazza. As the winner of the Young Architects Program (YAP) in Rome, Turin-based studio Bam! Bottega di Architettura metropolitan has transformed the concrete facade of the Zaha Hadid-designed museum into a visual spectacular with the installation of a yellow, translucent and aerostatic prism. 

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Bloomberg Rushes to Approve Billion-Dollar Projects Before Leaving Office

Courtesy of VisualHouse

Mayor Bloomberg’s decade long administration may be ending this January, but not before he ensures the approval of $12 billion worth of privately developed projects throughout . Under Bloomberg, 40 percent of NYC has been rezoned, creating a hot-bed of new construction. From multi-million dollar research centers to multi-billion dollar neighborhoods — complete with luxury waterfront apartments, outlet malls and the western hemisphere’s largest Ferris Wheel — each one of these megaprojects will undoubtedly transform NYC in the coming decades. Check them out here.

Christmas Tree Made of Sledges / Hello Wood

© Dániel Dömölky

From a distance, it would seem a traditional Christmas tree has been erected in front of the Palace of Arts in Budapest. But upon closer inspection, a surprise is revealed- the tree is made up of 365 sledges. Designed by Hello Wood, an architecture and design studio based out of Hungary, the 11 meter tree will eventually be disassembled and the sledges given to the kids of SOS Children’s Village. Read more about the installation after the break…

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Calatrava’s “Sharq Crossing” Planned for Doha Skyline

Courtesy of

Located in , Sharq Crossing is a set of three interconnected bridges spanning almost ten kilometres in the Bay. Designed by the famed architect Santiago Calatrava, the bridge will connect the city’s cultural district in the north to Hamad International Airport and the central business district in West Bay. The bridges, which are designed to accomodate as many as 2,000 vehicles an hour per lane, are also flanked by a series of subsea tunnels to manage and direct the flow of traffic across the bay.

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Finalist Proposal for First Public University in South Africa Since Apartheid

Courtesy of TC Architects

TC Design Architects have been announced as one of the four winners in a country-wide architectural competition to design the University of Mpumalanga in Nelspruit, the first public university in South Africa since the end of Apartheid. Of 147 architectural practices, the Department of Higher Education and Training has narrowed the pool of entries down to TC Design, Conco Bryan Architects, Cohen and Garson, and Gapp Architects & Urban Designers.

More on TC Design’s proposal after the break…

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Heneghan Peng Architects Selected to Design Contemporary Arts Center in Moscow

Heneghan Peng Architects’ Winning NCCA Proposal. Image Courtesy of NCCA

Heneghan Peng Architects has won an international competition for a new National Centre for Contemporary Arts (NCCA) at ’s Khodynskoe Pole. Selected from a shortlist of three, the Dublin-based practice will now further develop their winning scheme which vertically stacks exhibition spaces as flexible “trays” to maximize accessibility and visually connect the NCCA’s activities to the surrounding landscape.

Once complete, the large-scale building will host a variety of permanent and exhibitions, as well as lectures, professional conferences, concerts, performances, studios, art education facilities and more.

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Kickstarter Campaign: The Blindspot Initiative

The Blinspot Initiative: “Beyond competition, towards collaboration”. Image Courtesy of

Like many in architecture, the Blindspot Initiative has grown tired of ”the exclusive, winner takes all mentality of competitions.” Instead, they value collaboration and open access to ideas, and so are renting a studio in East LA for an exhibition that will display the work of 10 fringe (blindspot) designers, “presenting work on a neutral ground to encourage conversations and practice which lives outside the conventions of typical outputs and practices.” Visit their kickstarter project to learn more and contribute to their cause (and check out their video, after the break).

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Can a Law of Linguistics Predict How Cities Grow?

New York – Twice the size of LA. Via Flickr CC User. Image © Katy Silberger

An interesting article on io9 unveils a curious law that can apparently predict the size of cities - a law developed by a linguist. The original version of Zipf’s law states that in any language, the most common word was used twice as much as the second most common, three times as much as the third and so on. It seems though, that this law also applies to the populations of the in a given country. And the most interesting part? Nobody really knows why. You can read the full article here.